Canada

Cape Breton's last underground coal mine closing

Nearly three centuries of underground coal mining ends in Cape Breton this week.

When the last shift finishes at the Prince Mine this week, it will end more than 280 years of underground coal mining in Cape Breton.

The mine closing will also put 270 people out of work.

Most of the miners are still months away from qualifying for a pension. Instead, they will each get a severance package of about $80,000.

The Prince Mine opened in 1975. It's the last underground coal mine in Atlantic Canada.

The mine is located at Point Aconi, on the north shore of Cape Breton. It extends eight kilometres under the ocean.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale announced in May that the mine would be closed.

The decision came after a failed attempt to sell it to a U.S. company by the Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO), the federal Crown corporation that ran the island's mines.

DEVCO has spent $1.8 billion since it was created in 1967.

The government will spend another $28 million to help Cape Breton adjust to the mine closing.

Coal has been mined commercially in Cape Breton since 1720.

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